Instructor’s passion for manufacturing evident

June 3, 2013

From “Instructor’s passion for manufacturing evident” — Tom Vanderloop’s enthusiasm is contagious. His students in manufacturing programs at Chippewa Valley Technical College feel it, and so do the members of the student chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, for which he is chapter advisor.

“Tom has an extreme passion for everything he teaches, and for SME,” said Bob Grzegorek, chairman of the student chapter. “He got me more passionate about it to become chairman. We went from four student members to 22. We worked hard to do better.”

“The passion is very real in him,” said Jim Barbey, a May CVTC graduate who served as an SME student chapter officer. “It’s not just something he says or does; it’s real. That’s really why I joined SME.”

Vanderloop’s passion and service to SME dates to his first involvement in the organization in the 1970s. Now SME is recognizing his contributions, through the Faculty Advisor Professional Development Award, a national honor he is to receive at the SME annual meeting in Baltimore, Md., June 2-4. The award comes with a $500 stipend, which Vanderloop donated to the CVTC Foundation scholarship fund for the betterment of students in manufacturing programs.

Vanderloop has taught technical education for the past 38 years, including 28 at CVTC. He looks to his roots for inspiration.

“So much of what I do today came from my Christian father, mother and family. (My) attributes stem from a life within a healthy family environment,” he said.

The word “manufacture,” Vanderloop said, is derived from a French root meaning “made by hand.”

“It was the story I have always found from within my father’s work ethic. Manufacturing is a good and noble profession as a career for life,” he said. “My goal is simple: Love what you do and that passion will show up every day. Most students know I love my role as a teacher. It is manufacturing that guides my professional contributions.”

Vanderloop’s contributions to SME have occurred throughout his career. He first joined the organization in 1968 when he was a student at Fox Valley Technical Institute in Appleton. He remained involved as an undergraduate student at UW-Stout in the early ’70s, then as an assistant professor there in the early ’80s.

Vanderloop became the SME North Central Region chairman and served in various offices in the region. With the SME Indianhead Chapter in Eau Claire, he served at various times as chairman, bulletin editor, recruitment and retention committee official, student chapter liaison, faculty advisor, technical programming official and certification official.

In 2010 Vanderloop was named the SME’s President’s Circle with a gold-level status for having recruited more than 125 people to SME.

A measure of an educator’s success is in the level of their students’ achievement. The list of successful CVTC students Vanderloop has taught and led is a long one.

The founding SME student chapter chairman from 1985, Kevin Gottwalt, is now with Cardiac Pacemakers in St. Paul. In 1987, Chairman Mark Senti pushed the chapter to encourage students to seek SME certification as manufacturing technologists through a difficult test. SME recognized the chapter for its efforts when Chris Hurt was chairman in 2000-01; Hurt is metal fabrication CAD designer with Wisconsin Metal Fab in Chippewa Falls.

In all, more than 200 CVTC students have passed the test since 1985, a remarkable level of success, Vanderloop said.

Jill King, the 1997-98 SME chapter chairwoman, helped organize the first-ever Challengers and Choices program, designed to introduce middle school-age girls to career choices in manufacturing. The effort earned a national award of excellence.

“It’s a good marker not just for myself, but for the college,” Vanderloop said. “If I’ve got good students, they make me look good.”



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